Germany remains one of Ukraine's key partners, which has consistently supported the sovereignty and territorial integrity of our state and remains a supporter of a peaceful settlement in Donbas. This was stated by President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy during a joint meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and media representatives in Berlin.
"We can state that relations between our countries have been friendly, strong and, most importantly, unchanged for many years," the President said after a bilateral meeting with the German Chancellor.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy thanked Angela Merkel for the invitation to the dialogue. He noted that during today's talks, Germany once again demonstrated its unwavering position on supporting state sovereignty, territorial integrity of Ukraine and a peaceful settlement in Donbas.
Germany's position on non-recognition of Russia's attempt to illegally annex Crimea, as well as support for Ukraine's European and Euro-Atlantic aspirations, remains unchanged, the Ukrainian President said.
According to the President, the process of peaceful settlement in Donbas has become a key topic of today's talks.
"I would like to thank for the continued support for the Normandy format by Mrs. Merkel and President Macron. I think the project prepared by the German party together with the French party called "Key Clusters for the Implementation of the Minsk Agreements" is excellent. We, Ukraine, supported this project, and it is now considered by the Russian party, and only Russia today has not accepted these steps to end the war in Donbas," Volodymyr Zelenskyy stressed.
With this in mind, the President of Ukraine called for increased pressure on Russia to make it fulfill its peacekeeping commitments.
"It seems to me that all of us, all countries, should address the Russian party, demand a meeting in the Normandy format to end the war in eastern Ukraine and return our illegally occupied territories," he said.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy also spoke in favor of involving US President Joe Biden in the Normandy negotiating format.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, for her part, noted low progress in implementing the Minsk agreements.
"Ukraine has opened many checkpoints along the line of delimitation. Unfortunately, this was not done to the same extent by the separatists in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions," she said.
Angela Merkel stated that the pressure on Ukraine is increasing by Russia's buildup of troops and armaments on the Ukrainian border. She also mentioned the deaths of Ukrainian soldiers in recent days.
The Chancellor assured that any new Federal Government of Germany will stand for the progress in the implementation of the Minsk agreements.
In addition, the parties noted the importance of developing strategic partnership, bilateral interaction and economic cooperation.
The Ukrainian President thanked the German Chancellor for appreciating Ukraine's progress in implementing the reforms despite the difficult situation in the country and the war in Donbas. He added that these topics would be discussed in more detail today.